Barium Meal

A Barium Meal is an x-ray examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract. It involves swallowing a liquid contrast called barium which coats the lining of the oesophagus (gullet), stomach and small intestine so that it can be seen on x-rays.

Does any of the following apply to you? If so please contact us as soon as possible.

  • You suspect or know that you may be pregnant
  • You have ever experienced a severe reaction to a previous injection of contrast media
  • You suffer from asthma or have kidney disease
  • You are a diabetic

Do you require an interpreter?
Is the patient non-english speaking? If so, we can arrange for an interpreter to be present during the appointment. Please let us know as soon as possible so we can make the relevant arrangements.

You must not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the examination.

You may be given granules which, when swallowed, will release some gas in your stomach. It is important to try to keep the gas in the stomach for the duration of the test.

  • A cup of flavoured barium is then swallowed.
  • You will be asked to roll into different positions on the x-ray table, to mix the barium and gas in your stomach and duodenum.
  • A small injection may also be given to help relax your stomach. This may cause temporary blurring of vision.

You should not drive a car until your vision has returned to normal.

The barium will be viewed on the x-ray machine while you are moved into different positions to allow the barium to reach all parts of the stomach. The radiologist will take a series of x-rays. While being x-rayed it is important to follow directions and hold your breath when asked, to ensure the x-rays are not blurred.

The procedure usually takes between 10 – 15 minutes.

After the barium meal you should drink plenty of fluids. Your bowel actions may be white for some days following the procedure. This is completely normal.

If you are diabetic or have any other medical conditions which requires a special diet and drugs, please inform us before your appointment. If you have any questions regarding the procedure, please contact us or speak to your doctor.

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